It is generally believed that an RNA World existed at an early stage in the history of life. During this early period, RNA molecules are seen to be potentially involved in both catalysis and the storage of genetic information. It is widely believed that this RNA World was extensive and therefore a sophisticated nucleic acid replication machinery would presumably predate the translation machinery which would not be needed until later stages in the development of life. This view of an extended RNA World is not necessarily correct. From the point of view of exobiology, the difference in these two views mainly affects the significance of studies of the extent of catalysis possible by RNA- In either case, the origin of the translation machinery and the principles of RNA evolution remain central problems in exobiology. Translation presents several interrelated themes of inquiry for exobiology. First, it is essential, for understanding the very origin of life, how peptides and eventually proteins might have come to be made on the early Earth in a template directed manner. Second, it is necessary to understand how a machinery of similar complexity to that found in the ribosomes of modem organisms came to exist by the time of the last common ancestor (as detected by 16S RRNA sequence studies). Third, the RNAs that comprise the ribosome are themselves likely of very early origin and studies of their history may be very informative about the nature of the RNA World. Moreover, studies of these RNAs will contribute to a better understanding of the potential roles of RNA in early evolution.